Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

Another year just about done.  And that means it's time for another year end recap!  Looking back at last year's post, I laid out several goals for 2014:

  • Run another road marathon - nope, that did not happen.  I never really found the desire to run 26.2 miles on the road.  
  • Run another 50k - yes, indeed.  In fact I ran two.
  • Run 2000 miles for the year - nope.  I petered out around 1,700.

The year started with another great South County 4th Season trail series and I was happy to be able to participate in all five races.  They were a fun mix of old-school efforts and memorable snow-trudging events.  It culminated with the Big River Half where I ran very well.  I had a steady increase in mileage through the spring as I focused on the Pinelands 50k over Memorial Day weekend.  During the summer I mostly ran what I liked while taking part in a few choice races.  Then I upped the mileage again as I prepared for a big 1-2 punch - the NipMuck Marathon and Bimbler's 50k.

A big change for me this year was a new job in East Providence that began in April.  I left Smithfield, RI and morning access to some great trail networks and became acclimated to mid-day city running.  My mileage went up because I could run during lunch but the variety went way down.  I've found a few trails in nearby Seekonk but they pale in comparison to Wolf Hill or the dirt bike trails behind Fidelity.  Otherwise I'm sticking to city streets, trying to keep things fresh with as many locations as possible.  Also I spend a goodly amount of time on bike paths now.

I didn't keep up with the P90X videos as I had over the last two years.  Instead, I adopted a basic push-up/pull-up regimen that I sprinkle throughout my mornings.  It allowed me to fit in some upper body work while doing morning chores.  I don't know if/when I'll return to P90X - it'll be tough to fit into my new morning schedule and at any rate I think the basic push-up/pull-up regimen is doing the job.

Faithful readers know that I paid a heavy price for NipMuck and Bimbler's.  I pushed through both races with knee pain that had cropped up and ever since I've been battling aches and pains in right knee.  It's on and off and while I can run with the discomfort it's curtailing my enthusiasm for running and skeeving me out from attempting anything longer than 12 miles.  Couple that with a pinched nerve that's radiating down the right side of my body and I've been in a fitness funk lately.  I'm finding that no upper body stuff and scattered shorter runs without purpose makes me feel like I'm loosing fitness left and right.  Pretty funny idea considering that a few years ago I had no fitness and just played video games but there you have it.

Mileage was on pace for 2000 until Janky Knee made itself known

I'm sort of stumbling across the 2014 finish line and harshing the mellow of this review with all the injury talk.  Let's move on to the highlights of 2014 which is always my favorite part of this to write.

Not a race but definitely a fun run/hike up in the White Mountains.  After jealously reading of Adam Wilcox's many solo adventures, it was great to take one of my own while on family vacation.  18 miles of mountain trails definitely gave me all I could handle but the views were spectacular and it was satisfying to cover so much ground in 6.5 hours.

This should probably be higher on the list, considering I took almost a minute off last year's time.  Call it the effect of diminishing returns, I suppose.  It was my third year and was tough going in the second half battling the janky knee.  Still I made up enough time in the first half to account for the decrease on the second leg.  It was a hard race but satisfying in retrospect.  A great showing by Muddy and Jonny as well.

Running 31 miles isn't easy and when the course is actually more like 33 and your knee begins to really hurt at mile 13 it makes for a long day.  This race, which I sort of chose by default, became a really challenge and just finishing as well as I did is quite remarkable, I think.  I ran most of the race by myself in some form of discomfort but I held it together and finished 9th.

I'm very pleased with how I paced myself in this long trail race.  I stayed with the Mighty Gazelle and another runner for much of the race before putting distance on them over the last mile.  A tough battle on what's becoming my favorite Rhode Island course (it's a nice epilogue that the following day I did very well at the Jamestown Bridge 10k.)

Everything came together for what I easily consider to be my best race of 2014.  After death marching the last 12 miles of my first 50k last year, I wanted to make sure that I was better prepared for the distance.  With another year of mileage on my body and a more focused spring ramp-up, it all came together up in Maine.  There were some challenging miles but I didn't fall apart and the course format was a tremendous help.  My second 50k and the first one I raced, not just survived.

So concludes another year.  Thanks to my wife and family for giving me the time to pursue my crazy goals (Amanda was no slouch this year either, among other things completing the 1.7 mile Save the Bay Swim!)  It was another fun year running with the WTAC guys - it was inspiring watching them rack up some impressive performances, especially Masters dominator Mike Galoob.  Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and I hope to catch up with you on the trails in 2015!

1 comment:

  1. Great Year-end recap, Seth! Impressive results and numbers, and all done with the janky knee...nice work!